Bipolar disorder is not a single disorder, but a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood, clinically referred to as mania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These episodes are normally separated by periods of normal mood, but in some patients, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, known as rapid cycling. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, Bipolar NOS, and cyclothymia based on the type and severity of mood episodes experienced.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Bipolar Disorder. The Official Guide to Bipolar Disorder is MJ Sawyer.

MJ Sawyer is internationally acclaimed as a pioneer and highly respected expert in balancing brain chemistry through the use of sound and energy infusions. A relentless thirty-six year battle with treatment-resistant rapid cycling bipolar disorder, OCD, symptoms of autism and panic disorder, inspired MJ to use her body as a laboratory to find solutions for balancing her brain chemistry without the use of medications. The methods she discovered for clearing imbalances constitute the widely praised curative techniques, MJ Sawyer's Four-Part Prescription for Healing.

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MJ Sawyer, The Official Guide to Bipolar Disorder